Exploring Sonoma County cities and towns with food-loving locals
Name: Bob Guffanti
Profession: Owner of Another Green World, Landscape Consultation and Design
Location: Burbank Gardens neighborhood, Santa Rosa
I’m not exactly a locavore, but I prefer to support local growers and producers of food with an emphasis on sustainable. Because of where I live, there are a few places I go more often than others. I like the idea of walking down to Criminal Baking Cº. and Noshery 463 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa; 707.888.3546. Owner Dawn Zaft is a really good cook and her food is casual and delicious. I like food that respects the ingredients. Plus, I don’t bake and I like to order things out that I don’t usually make myself. A few more steps down the street, there’s The Spinster Sisters 401 South A. Street, Santa Rosa; 707.528.7100. It’s one of my favorite places to go; I’d drive there even it weren’t within walking distance of my house. I’m glad that they always have their warm kale salad on the menu. It’s always good. Their French fries are one of my favorite foods of all time, if a bit of a guilty pleasure. We also live within walking distance of downtown Santa Rosa and like to go to Perch+Plow 90 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa; 707.541.6896. I initially went because I’m a fan of Bud Snow’s art, and I wanted to see the mural [in the restaurant’s dining room]. But, I’ve been back several times now. I order something different every time including their seafood dishes. They cook the way I like to eat—that California style that started with Alice Waters, and has been refi ned over and over again with local ingredients—treated with respect—in pleasing combinations. Generally, where I go depends on what meal it is, right? Breakfast tends to be either Criminal Baking Cº. or Dierk’s Parkside Café 404 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa; 707.573.5955— it’s good, straight-forward diner food. If I want to have eggs out, that’s where I go.
I shop Oliver’s Market 461 Stony Point, Santa Rosa; 707.284.3530 as a rule. It’s fairly close because I live near Highway 12—it’s easy to pop down there. They have some of the best produce of any grocery store I’ve ever been to. And they carry Clover products—I like to buy local dairy products when I can. I cook with wine and they have a good wine department. I can always find something affordable of quality. I like the fact that they are now employee-owned. For meat purchases, I almost exclusively support Sonoma County Meat Company 35 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa; 707.521.0121 for my meat purchases. I do buy Rocky and Rosie Chicken from Oliver’s because they are Petaluma-raised. But I love the folks at Soco Meat Company. I’ve quit buying factory-farmed animals. The meat is a little more ethically raised and I like grass-fed beef. They also have some of the best pork I’ve ever eaten, that wasn’t wild, and they make great sausages. It’s always fun to serve their lavender-honey bacon to guests because it sounds so precious and twee, but it’s delicious. At Santa Rosa Seafood 946 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa; 707.579.2085, they put up front right where everything comes from and you can get locally caught fish and oysters. Or you can get something more exotic if that’s what you have a taste for. I really like rockfish and if you don’t know a fisherman, you are out of luck at most grocery stores. So I go to the fish store. Nearby is Phnom-Penh Grocery 923 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa; 707.545.7426 where I go for Asian vegetables and spices. They always have Thai basil and all the cabbage families are well-represented, something I like to have on hand at all times.
FARMS & MARKETS
We’re lucky to have so many good ones around. I was a big fan of Leisen’s Bridgeway Farms but they got burned out in the Tubbs fire and won’t be back for at least a year. I don’t have any particular grower that I go to, but we are very close to the Veterans Building and Santa Rosa Community Farmers’ Market 131 Maple Avenue; 415.999.5635 is huge. You have to put it in your calendar to do it, and it might not be as convenient as the grocery store, but every time I go to the farmers’ market I come home with too much stuff. Right now, it’s stone fruit and the first figs. I love the strawberries at Farmer Lao’s Strawberry Stand Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. I tend to eat fruit in season and theirs is delicious, and I also like the blueberries at Sonoma Swamp Blues 7000 Occidental Road; 707.293.4802. It’s very easy to eat good food in Sonoma County!